My newest feature animation has been released!
Watch it here:
I usually do a blog post like these to reflect on the project, for my own sake. I didn’t make one for INVINCIBILITY KNIGHT because I only spent a single month on it. This one took place over the course of 9 months. So if you’re curious about what was going through my head while making Gildedguy vs Bog (and part of Invincibility Knight), read on!
Hey Michael, what took ya?
You *specfically* said you were going to try to finish this animation faster than your other ones!
Why did it end up taking even longer?!
I can answer that question! It’s not a very insightful answer, but I’ll give the age old excuse: life “got in the way.”
Moved out of my parents place.
November. It was about time, and I didn’t want to burden my mum and dad any more. The actual logistics of moving all yer crap into a new place is tedious. Readjusting to living on my own too (cooking, chores, shopping, bills).
Participated in the Twitch Animation Contest.
Log started: 1/31/2017 4:11:08 PM [7:32:16 PM] steelanim: hey GildedGuy :D did you see the twitch animation contest? [7:33:46 PM] Gildedguy: Twitch animation comp? [7:33:57 PM] steelanim: https://blog.twitch.tv/twitch-animation-contest-with-a-9-000-prize-pool... [7:34:37 PM] Gildedguy: oooo sht [7:34:44 PM] Gildedguy: February 24 [7:34:46 PM] Gildedguy: Whata deadline [7:34:57 PM] Minish23: That's a tight deadline tbh [7:35:06 PM] ninjasonic_102: One month [7:35:11 PM] AquaBooster: That's like 1 month. [7:35:13 PM] brobtherob: one month for a 9,000 prize. . . [7:35:25 PM] Gildedguy: Ill look into this, thanks for showing me @steelanim
All of February. This was a snap opportunity that I decided to jump on. I was literally in the middle of working on Bog, when one of my stream’s viewers told me about the animation contest. Since the contest was already a week in, and the deadline was really short, I dropped what I was doing and pumped out INVINCIBILITY KNIGHT, hoping I would win at least an honorable mention. Luckily, I won first place, decisively making this gamble worth the shot.
A funny story about that animation.
The ending was originally going to be quite generic, with our gamer just determinedly grimacing and pressing START:
I was committed to that ending throughout the whole 3-week rush of the project, until I got a glimpse of some of my competition. Some of the entries I saw were beautifully animated, and technically stronger than my own.
Doubt kicked in. You know how you have this gut reaction to online content? Like, in even a few seconds, you can kind of judge the quality of an entire video.
I knew I had a decent climax to my story, but after checking out my “opponents”, I knew I needed more.
The day I had to animate that ending sequence , I got up and literally started pacing. This is one of the few times I somehow ushered a “light bulb” moment out of myself. I distinctly remember the despair:
The ending with our gamer suddenly getting determined was just too cliche. My creation is polished, but it’s just another mediocre story. It’s just not good enough. Hmm. I’ve wasted the past month chasing prize money. I should’ve continued on Bog.
I felt very similar to the gamer, just…down on myself. Pitiable!
I review the animation I had already done.
Gildedguy is running though the obstacles and, as planned in my story, he keeps coming back.
He gets busted up by a hazard. He emerges from his own shattered armor.
He gets shot at by some arrows. He appears again, right behind his old body.
Eureka! Just have a new, determined gamer appear right behind our defeated gamer!
That way we reuse the “die to instant revive” motif I established throughout the story!
This ending made a lot more thematic sense, and I was elated I discovered it in time.
Became severely sick.
All of March/Early April. Flu-like illness kept me out of action the whole time. You guys can blame my roommate, Hang, for infecting me with whatever god awful virus he got from his workplace (my old workplace coincidentally). I spent entire days just sitting still, trying to adjust my air passages to breathe clearly. Snot for days. Soup for days.
Living in a non-air-conditioned basement didn’t help either.
So I hope you’ll forgive me for not getting anything done in March.
It wasn’t pretty. It was ugly.
It was pretty ugly.
All of May. Part of June. I took on a ton of freelance work all at once, because I felt obliged. I avoid delaying my own art for the sake of others’ projects, but this time the request came from someone I do respect and admire: Lachhh, cofounder of Berzerk Studio! He has made some of the net’s greatest Flash game hits such as Berzerk Ball, Sands of the Colosseum, and recently, Zombidle.
Fun fact: I was kind of salty that Berzerk Ball 2, a 2012 “toss game” like my own Slush Invaders Game, was much more popular, polished, and fun. The extra sodium came in when I was tasked with animating a promo FOR Berzerk Ball during my time with Bored.com…grumble.
Lachhh has also done a video series (which I thoroughly enjoyed in college) about independent game development.
Then there’s his open-source app, LachhhTools. It’s a live streaming alert app that enables users to use their own custom Flash animations (instead of the canned ones you’d find on StreamLabs, Muxy, or NightDev). Here’s one I made for UncleBourbone’s channel:
Lachhh essentially boxed up his own alert overlay and made it free to use. How generous!
If only he were so generous before I decided to make such an overlay from scratch…grumble grumble.
He asked me if I could take on animation commissions for streamers utilizing LachhhTools…and I couldn’t refuse! This guy has given so much stuff to the Flash Game and Twitch communities, stuff I’ve personally benefited from.
Lachhh also asked me if I could help design a level for his new game, Just Shapes & Beats. And so by agreeing, this marks the second time I’m doing freelance work for a Berzerk Studio game…grumble grumble grumble.
An aside: Since dropping myself into this independent career path I’ve noticed an unexpected, yet inevitable (I guess) trend. In a slow, organic way, my work has been noticed more and more by people I revere. First it was awesome animators like Hyun and others of the Stick Fight community, then animators from the golden age of Newgrounds (Egoraptor, Rubberninja, Adam Phillips). Now some of the new, popular YouTubers know about lil’ ol’ Gildedguy (JaidenAnimations, TheOdd1sOut).
So that’s why.
Where I would normally work consistently for 5-6 months straight on a project, this animation took 9 months, 3 of which were not even related to the project. This made it more difficult, since each time I had to take a hiatus from Bog, I had to “get back into the rhythm” of work.
One very nice thing was that I received little “nagging” from fans about Gildedguy vs Bog coming out. This is a good sign that I have their trust. I do hope the fruits of my labor show that I didn’t betray that trust.
Or maybe no one nagged because I took so long that they all forgot about it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The actual production of Gildedguy vs Bog
Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid) said that a good long-term project ought to “change you” by the end of it. Mmm, I can’t say I’ve undergone any paradigm shifts like last year, but I’ve definitely gained more experience being alone.
It is difficult for me to admit, but I, Michael Moy, spend a LOT of my waking hours by myself. It is even harder to admit that I do this by choice.
It hasn’t been a big deal in the past because I could at least see my family, friends, and colleagues on a day to day basis. Then everything changed when the decision-to-quit-normal-society-and-stable-job-nation attacked.
I moved out and embarked on this project in November. Since then, I pretty much only see my roommates for an hour or two in the evenings (they work proper 9-5’s like sane people). The other 23 hours, I’m all by myself! Well, there’s the dog but you can only pet that thing for so long.
A common sense solution would be to just get out more, meet people, etc. Which I have no excuse for not doing. I could totally do that, and should probably do it more. But I don’t. Nobody really does.
Queue more grumbling.
It’s okay though, because I’ve gotten used to this type of isolation. After awhile, and many months of internal grumbling and lonely whining, you just kind of give up on your outer persona. The reality of being on your own becomes very apparent.
Whenever thoughts go “Grumble grumble, this sucks, I’m not happy.”
Time and time again, the room is silent. As if the universe were saying “Yeah, and…?”
What are you gonna do? Argue with a wall?
All one can do is look around, feel the empty space and go:
“Welp, looks like I’m just a guy after all!”
Sounds sad, but the delirium becomes kind of glorious! Being lonely just becomes silly.
Not to overly romanticize what seems negative, but I think there is value in feeling so invisible, that you take yourself far less seriously.
And when you do meet up with people, it is incredibly refreshing.
What does that have to do with the actual production of Gildedguy vs Bog tho
The actual production of Gildedguy vs Bog, was, practically speaking, not very exciting. There weren’t any notable new techniques I employed, and the style is mainly a rough evolution of what I did for Basement Busk and INVINCIBILITY KNIGHT. All other improvements to the visual quality was achieved by intuition – I haven’t reflected on how I did them yet.
What I found I improved on was more on the conceptual and storytelling side of things. The animation relates to what was described above about being on your own, but not exactly. I don’t want to say the exact theme of the animation, since I want my stuff to speak for itself now.
What you hear is on you!
That is, I hope viewers can draw insightful connections from it for themselves.
Just don’t get too crazy on the fan-theory.
I’m 90% sure I want to go all-in on one of my more ambitious projects. I’ve been slowly building up my side-skills for the past year in preparation. It’s terrifying, but even more exciting how it may turn out. I want to stream the entire development, spoilers and all, but I’m still not sure if that’s a good idea. Got some more preparation to do.
If I can pull it off, the final product will be HOURS of entertainment, not just 6 minute short films!
You can get a hint of what the next project will be just like how Gildedguy vs Bog was teased. Just look at the post-credits scenes very carefully.
On a final note, I am enjoying all the detailed feedback the new animation is getting!
Thanks for reading!